Monday, June 07, 2010

World Cup coming, spirits down

Spain?  Nooooo ...... (miserable whimper follows)
The World Cup that matters, the one with a handful of guys running behind a ball to kick it, the game the US of A is unable to understand because it likes scores of 6784 versus 3462 ...

But I am not excited this year, not at all.

First, my team, France, should not have qualified. And I really mean it as I write it. Making it barely against Ireland through a hand foul is less than glamorous. And been defeated by China a few days before the cup starts, well, you know... And being coached by a guy who looks at astrological charts for his players decision is beyond words.  How can you find the heart to root for such a lousy team?

Second, I am tempted to root for, of all countries, Spain. My sportsmanship has grown enough that actually I might not mind Spain to win the Cup, I even think that it deserves it. Anything but Italy and Brazil has always been my leitmotiv anyway....  I would root for Argentina in normal times when France is out, but even with Messi in it I cannot get over Maradona being the coach.  Sorry, I can't, it grosses me out too much.  So I will swallow hard and go for Spain this year (hoping against all odds that the Dutch will cause a surprise).

And third, last but not least, the way Venezuela is going on these days I am in no mood for anything. Yes, I will watch a few games but to tell you the truth I do not care much for it this year. Chavez has managed to kill even that in me. Fortunately I have Direct TV so if Chavez does one of his hated cadenas I can still watch the game through Fox sports (ESPN sucks, or does not pass the games, or does advertisement during it). May chavistas watch Venevision and Meridiano TV and suffer the cadena interruption!


  1. Anonymous11:22 PM

    Nightmare scenario: Chavez does a cadena in the middle of World Cup Final so he can narrate it! (Remember that the final will be on a Sunday, probably during an Alo, Dictador.)

    With an ego the size of his, there's just no way he would allow anything to have more screen time than his "opinions".

  2. So, why the cheap shot at the US? A little prejudicial, don't you think?

  3. Fox has a soccer channel for some reason.

    The US understands soccer. We just get sleepy watching guys running back and forth for over an hour waiting for something exciting to happen.

    Like a riot. lol.

  4. Anonymous1:25 AM

    So, not Venezuela Football Pundits this year?

  5. skeptical

    Is it not true that the only US sports that has make it sort of big outside is Baseball? Is it not true that the "world series" is now always played between two US teams (as if Toronto had a freaking chance in heaven to make it...)? Is it not true that the US world cup final is transmitted on a major US network WITH advertisement while the game keeps going?

    Cheap, prejudicial or factual?

    There is really only one world wide team sport and it is soccer. The US is the only major country that has a minor role in it though I admit that women soccer is top in the US and that high school soccer is big. But somehow it cannot pass that line even though the US did host a World Cup.

  6. United CC

    Well, do you want to read my strong opinions about US Football?


  7. As long as you don't bash my Dallas Cowboys! I do enough of that.

  8. anonymous

    I doubt that Quico is up to it or able to convince me. Besides it is his year, he always liked the Spaniards.

  9. Strangely, though, the US is the highest paid team of all in this years event ( I forgot the link, but it's around). In the extremely unlikely event of winning the whole thing, they stand to make just under one million dollars each in total. Even an early exit from the group stages will net each player close to 100,000.

  10. Nothing like having an illegal Puerto Rican Direct TV system, no Chavez there! (Unless you go to the Globovision channel, I still dont understand who in Pto. Rico watches Globovision, oligarchs?)

  11. Daniel, the Toronto Blue Jays DID win the World Series, TWICE (1992 and 1993). I don't think they had any Canadians either time, but there is at least one Canadian in the Hall of Fame.

    I coached kids' soccer here in the USA for 11 years. At a coaches' clinic one year, the head coach commented that soccer is the most widely played sport in the USA, up until 8th grade. After that, many children either specialize in one of the more popular ones, or drop out of sports altogether. Still, he said, he's rather have that than to have the USA go to the World Cup (which had not happened yet!)

  12. Marzolian

    I stand corrected, the Blue Jays did win. But as you say, there was probably no Canadian on the team ;)

    I suppose we could qualify t as World Series since it is conceivable that a World Series woudl be dominated by Latin American and Japanese players....

    As for your comment on the US going tot he World Cup. I am afraid I do not understand: the Us did go several times tot he World Cup, even at least once going to second round.

  13. Miguel

    They do not have VTV in Puerto Rico?

  14. "Is it not true that the US world cup final is transmitted on a major US network WITH advertisement while the game keeps going?" in 1986, that was true. No longer. Now we get ads running along the bottom of the screen, but the game stays on. Besides, I usually watch it on one of the Spanish chains anyways, no ads during the game.

    I cannot listen to a futbol game in English! It JUST DOES NOT WORK.

    Unless of course it's an English League game, then it's OK.

    I would just love for Chacumbele to try and mess with the final. Instant riots leading to his removal would be a nice way to end the World Cup!

    For what it's worth, BRASIL< BRASIL< BRASIL, always and forever!

  15. Meh, Metric Football? It's okay, but it would be better if the teams were forced use a ball with 3 different compounds each game and each country could enter 2 squads.

  16. Who cares who wins?

    I grew up in the States and the only people who were forced to play soccer in gym class were girls.

    Soccer was a: strictly girls only game.

    My best friend and I usually took the time during soccer matches to compose comic operas while observing the balls flying overhead or towards the sides; all to the consternation and disappointment of the rest.The destination of a ball is not as amusing or entertaining to me as are the absurd anxieties of the those who take it seriously.

    Best of luck to all!

  17. Daniel, I was not clear: My coach was speaking in 1988. At the time the only appearance by the US was in 1950. The US later qualified for the 1990 Cup and every subsequent tournament.

    Latin American players currently make up at least 25% of the US major league baseball roster, and some predict that it might rise to 35-40%.

  18. Anonymous5:59 PM

    "Is it not true that the US world cup final is transmitted on a major US network WITH advertisement while the game keeps going?"

    As Robert said this is no longer true and hasn't been true for some time. All World Cup games (not just the final) are broadcast without commercials and in HD on ESPN. Even the domestic league (MLS) games are broadcast without commercials during the run of play. There may be logos on the screen or a crawl running beneath but that is common in most countries.

    Each World Cup cycle it becomes more and more of a big deal in the US. 1990 it was invisible, now it is sort of big deal and noticibly more visible than even 4 years ago.

    "Is it not true that the only US sports that has make it sort of big outside is Baseball? "

    An arguement could be made for Basketball.

  19. anonymous

    yes, i suppose that basketball has made it bigger than baseball. i must chalk my lapse on the fact that venezuela is a baseball country, but in europe basketball is huge. so is handball but that is another story...

  20. I cannot say I'm rooting for a team. And least not yet. I would not mind if Spain wins. I'm, though, rooting against Italy and Argentina (despite Messi, who is a joy to watch.) Italians and Argentinians are the most responsible of the fact that diving and faking painful injury is now a common practice among most teams. Let me date myself: I remember when, for example, stoic German players would never do such things, they would be ashamed of it. Not anymore.

    With the exception of rugby, I cannot think of any *well known* team sports that beat soccer in terms or requiring toughness, speed, and, at same time, great stamina. Hockey and basketball come close, but, unlike soccer, in those sports players are rotated, going in and out of the game. In soccer, players don't get those rests, once you are out you are out.


  21. Baseball is the only sport I know where professionals can grow beer bellies and still be professionals.
    The games are usually so exciting that the public often roams around
    as if in a grilling party, going for some more hotdogs, popcorn, Coke.
    Still, games can be fun :-).

    I agree basketball is also a very global sport, but nothing seems to beat football when it comes to how popular it is (I mean football as in soccer, not as in pad-pad-you-are-hurting-me-ouch football)

  22. Anonymous11:09 AM

    I think that the best that can be said of Soccer (Futbol) is that performance enhancing drugs are not a problem, since sheer physical prowess is not enough to excel at this game, and it may even hamper your style. I could not imagine that Iniesta, Messi, Xavi could play like they do if they suddenly were bulkier, heavier and a lot stronger. It would certainly add nothing to their game. It´s ability and intelligence put to work. That is what makes this sport different from the likes of baseball or Football (which I also enjoy very much)

  23. Tradition has much to do with everything.

    I predict that Soccer will become more popular in the US as the immigrant population rises-But it might take eons.It is simply not a part of our tradition yet and because of that most children are not drawn to it as they get older.

    My grandson plays soccer( I put him in a British Soccer camp every summer) but his interest is fueled by his parents who are Venezuelan and Portuguese.Now that he is older, and a very talented athlete, because of popular opinion he is gravitating more towards baseball .He is not rough enough or large enough for American Football, but has the great eye/ hand coordination needed for baseball.

    Our best athletes don't gravitate toward Soccer( usually), eliminating the possibility of seeing a Michael Jordan of Soccer emerge from our country.

    One of the reasons it might take Soccer time to catch on here is that it is a very dirty game.Unlike in Soccer MOST football teams will not sign on dirty players even if they have talent.

    Also Football and baseball here are family entertainments.Soccer fans are too rowdy and violent to take families to their matches.In the US fans have a great deal of family fun at football and baseball games so it is more supported by most of us for that reason.
    I am neutral about sports but I will take my grandson to watch a baseball game on the 4rth of July where we can see beautiful fireworks in a peaceful setting.

  24. Bob Sacamano5:46 PM

    I live in Argentina, but I never gave a fuck about futbol; but this Mundial has reached historic low levels, IMHO.
    I simply don't give a royal fuck about it; the only thing I want is that it somehow (finally) probes what a clusterfuck Maradona really is.

  25. There is another thing in the US that may play against football:
    90 minutes game could be hard for TV advertisement US style to fit.

    What do you think?

    Does that guy really check the horoscope? Oh, my God! What is going on with French football? I remember the Platini times.

  26. This world cup will be bigger than ever... I'm rooting for Spain but would like to see the US and one of the African teams do better. I would also love to see Maradona crash out of the WC asap... even as much as I love Messi.

    Anyway.. soccer is currently the biggest growing sport in the US, contrary to what people might think the average attendance to a MLS game is in the top 20 in the world (read that in business week) and billions are being spent every year to grow the sport. After all, it is the most played sport in the country.

    I don't watch much of the MLS.. but I rarely miss any games of my team (Barca) and watch a lot of the La Liga and EPL games on a weekly basis. But its clear that the sport is growing in the US.. at an exponential rate. Expect the US to be serious contenders in less than 10-15 years.

  27. Lee Fowler6:48 PM

    You forgot to take the new world baseball classic into account. I think it has been played twice now if memory serves me correctly. I realize it is nowhere near as popular as the world cup but it is played by national teams and the US has yet to win it. Also I thought the Montreal Expos won the world series once in the 90's, but maybe that was Minnesota.

  28. Boludo Tejano7:54 PM

    Daniel, the Toronto Blue Jays DID win the World Series, TWICE (1992 and 1993). I don't think they had any Canadians either time..
    I stand corrected, the Blue Jays did win. But as you say, there was probably no Canadian on the team ;)

    And the truth shall make you free. Consider case of Rob Butler :
    He went on to win the World Series championship with his hometown team making him the only Canadian player to have won a World Series with the Blue Jays.
    For the record.

    I would have rooted for Argentina, in the same spirit that I drink my daily yerba mate. As I have little respect for hinchas de Chávez such as Diego Maradona, the current Argentine coach, I will pass on rooting for Argentina this time.

    I played a lot of pick-up soccer games in my undergraduate days. The competition wasn’t bad, as among the players were a high school All-American in soccer and starters from high school state champion soccer teams.

  29. Kepler: And SOCCER is the only game I know where Professionals can score points by great Acting, Diving on the grass, and Faking Injuries... so give me Baseball every time even if some of them do have beer bellies.

    Re US: The US participated in the 1930 WC, so the 1950 comment was wrong, they made it to the semi-finals against Argentina (lost 6-1). There was no 3rd place match and admittedly the only reason they got so far was because Europe largely ignored the event, only some token European countries participated.


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.